Bed bugs are usually harmless, but very annoying. They can make it very difficult to get a good night’s sleep and can lead to itchiness and discomfort during the day. If you have bed bugs, getting rid of the problem is virtually impossible without the help of professional pest control. This guide will help you understand what bed bugs are, the potential threat they pose, and ways in which you can get rid of them if you are unlucky enough to find yourself with an infestation.
What are Bed Bugs?
For starters, it helps to understand what bed bugs are. This small type of insect gets its name from the fact that it most commonly lives in mattresses and bedding materials. That’s not to suggest that a bed bug can only survive in a bed. In fact, the creatures can also nest in certain types of clothing, fabric, and luggage. Bed bugs never grow beyond a quarter of an inch long and appear reddish brown in color when they mature to adulthood. However, they also lay eggs very rapidly, and those eggs can be difficult to find. Baby bed bugs, called nymphs, are much smaller and have a pale coloration that makes them almost impossible to see in bedding material. Bed bugs feed on blood. Although their bites are not painful, they tend to leave an irritating itching sensation along with red bumps that cause discomfort to those unlucky enough to sleep in an infested bed.
What Threat do Bed Bugs Pose?
Fortunately, bed bugs are harmless to humans unless a severe allergy is in play. This isn’t to say that they don’t cause problems, however. Nobody likes waking up to see the little pests crawling on their skin, nor do they enjoy the uncomfortable bites left behind by these nuisances. In a home, bed bugs can cause distress, difficulty sleeping, and additional problems for pets and children. In a business that has a lot of linens and betting material, such as a hotel or motel, the presence of bed bugs can cause major financial problems. Hotels that get overrun by bed bugs may have to shut down in order to deal with the problem and often face a damaged reputation as a result of the infestation.
How Can You Prevent Bed Bugs?
The best way to keep bed bugs from infesting your home is to get serious about preventing the problem. This often involves taking a look at the bedding and linens you use at home. Mattresses using modern materials, such as latex, tend to be more expensive but provide better resistance to bed bugs, preventing the creatures from burrowing into them and laying their eggs. Older mattresses can be protected with specially designed liners that are bed bug resistant. In these cases, the bed bugs cannot burrow their way past the liner and thus can’t feed on the people sleeping on the mattress. Without any way to get blood, the bed bugs and their young will eventually starve.
How Do You Kill Bed Bugs?
Even preventive techniques have a chance of failure. If you find yourself with a bed bug infestation, the best option is extermination. Changing sheets and blankets can help eliminate those living on the surface of a bed, as the heat of a dryer can kill both mature bed bugs and their eggs. However, a load of laundry can’t solve the deeper problem of a nest of bed bugs buried deep within a mattress. For this, it is best to turn to exterminator commercial services, which can provide a heat treatment. A typical heat treatment warms your mattress up to a temperature that won’t damage the furniture but will completely kill the bed bugs and all their eggs. Because no pesticides or harsh chemicals are involved, this treatment is completely safe to children and pets. All you need to do is leave the mattress alone for a little while afterward to let it cool back down.
Bed bugs are uncomfortable at best and devastating to a home or business at worst. By knowing more about them, you can identify them when the infestation is still new. From there, you can take preventive steps to control the problem and keep it from happening again. However, the best move if you find a bed bug problem is to call a professional for help. An experienced professional who can provide a good heat treatment can make sure that the bed bugs disappear completely and remain gone for the long term.